“He’s picking a birthday present for his boyfriend.”
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
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Fu Liqun entered the subway from the shopping mall. He seemed very familiar with the place as he showed Yu Hao the way to another shopping mall. They took a bus and rode for four stops, then arrived at a fairly remote location to find a buyer’s shop filled with basketball shoes.
“Yu Hao.” Fu Liqun said, “As long as you’re a man, you would like all the shoes here!”
Confronted by the pile of basketball shoes, Yu Hao almost fainted. He thought, then maybe I’m an eunuch ba……
The two of them were the only customers in the shop. The boss was a strong man that stood 2m tall and looked to be about 100kg, with stubble, dark skin and dressed in basketball clothes. He said to Fu Liqun, “The one who only browses and doesn’t buy anything, you’re back again?”
Fu Liqun chuckled, “Today we’re here to buy something.”
Fu Liqun said to Yu Hao, “Zhou Sheng definitely likes this model.”
The boss scrutinised Yu Hao, disapproval written all over his face, and didn’t bother entertaining them.
Yu Hao took the pair that Fu Liqun handed to him and asked, “How much is this pair?”
Boss, “Prices are stated on the soles, can’t you see for yourself?”
Yu Hao thought that this shopkeeper was really arrogant. He immediately vomited blood when he saw the price on the sole. A pair of basketball shoes cost 8,300???
Yu Hao’s expression was quite a spectacular sight. He whispered to Fu Liqun, “Is this an official store?”
“A buyer’s shop.” Fu Liqun answered.
“These shoes are bought back by the boss and sold in the store?” Yu Hao asked again.
The boss immediately exploded. He stood up and wanted to chase them away, his stature resembling that of a mountain, “Knock it off! Both of you should go back ba, I’m closing shop to buy groceries. Don’t idle here for fun anymore, brothers.”
“No!” Fu Liqun quickly said, “He’s picking a birthday present for his boyfriend.”
“Not my boyfriend!” This time, it was Yu Hao’s turn to explode.
“Ohhh——” The boss had already stood up, but sat down when he heard this.
Fu Liqun said, “He doesn’t understand, he’ll be in the pit soon.”
“Take your time then.” The boss turned his phone on and began watching《Empresses in the Palace》.
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao knew that Zhou Sheng likes basketball shoes and all kinds of anime figurines, but picking a pair of shoes that Zhou Sheng would like was practically like finding an AWP for Yu Hao.
Fu Liqun said, “He’ll like any pair you pick from this shop.”
As he spoke, Fu Liqun took another pair and stared at it for a long while. Yu Hao said, “That pair?”
Fu Liqun put it back and said, “This pair doesn’t have his size, I was just looking around.”
Yu Hao said, “Then……what about this? Yi? Nintendo?”
“A model made in collaboration with NES, black white red limited edition.” The boss said in a gruff voice, “Only 10 pairs were released in North America. Do you want to check the size first? Can he wear a size US 10?”
“The size is fine.” When Yu Hao saw that the price of the shoes was 9,600, ten thousand alpacas immediately stampeded through his heart. His heart jolted, will Zhou Sheng really like these?
“Then this pair……ba?” Yu Hao said and thought that this pair of shoes would be the most expensive thing he had ever bought in his entire life.
The boss took out his phone and prepared to collect the money. He took out the shoe box, and Yu Hao asked, “That was a question just now……wait, I haven’t decided yet! Is there a newer one?”
“There are only 10 pairs in North America, what do you think?” The boss asked Yu Hao.
“Forget I said anything.” Yu Hao quickly said, “Tear the cling film off and cut the tag on it ba.”
“If you cut it you won’t be able to return it anymore.” The boss said.
Yu Hao said, “Even if he wants to return it, don’t let him.”
Boss, “I’ll help you step around in it?”
Yu Hao, “Well, that’s not necessary……”
The boss casually tore off the film, cut the tag, stuffed it into the shoe box, then casually took out a black plastic bag and put the shoe box in it. Yu Hao took his phone out to pay the boss. The boss handed the plastic bag to him, accepted the money, and continued watching《Empresses in the Palace》.
Yu Hao, “That’s it?”
Boss, “Yeah, what else do you expect?”
Yu Hao said, “Is there a receipt?”
Boss, “Of course not! What are you thinking?!”
Yu Hao, “……”
Fu Liqun was still looking at shoes. Yu Hao said, “Then what if it……spoils?” If it was fake, then Zhou Sheng would hack this shop’s boss to death ba.
“There aren’t any fakes here——” The boss clearly understood Yu Hao’s crooked thoughts, “If anyone says that it’s fake, then come trash my shop. I won’t retaliate, you can trash it however you want.”
Yu Hao replied awkwardly, “I don’t doubt its authenticity……I was just wondering if there’s a warranty or something……”
“No warranty.” The boss said, “Your boyfriend will know how to maintain it himself. Stop fussing, the emperor’s dead.” After he said this, he continued watching《Empresses in the Palace》.
Yu Hao, “……”
Fu Liqun picked up a pair of shoes, put them down, then picked up another pair of shoes, and put them down as well. After he browsing through the store once, he, he stopped in front of the first pair of shoes he had looked at. He seemed really reluctant to part from them. Until now, Yu Hao still hadn’t accepted the reality that he had just spent 9,800 on a pair of shoes in a shop that looks like a grocery store which didn’t even issue receipts!
“Are you still buying it or not?” The boss asked, “I’m closing shop soon.”
Fu Liqun said, “Let’s go ba, did you buy it? Let me see our young master’s pair?”
Yu Hao and Fu Liqun stood at the subway station under the shopping mall. Fu Liqun took the shoes out to look at them and suddenly sighed.
Fu Liqun, “Ai——”
Yu Hao immediately became nervous and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Fu Liqun solemnly patted Yu Hao’s shoulder, “It’s pretty good.”
Yu Hao noticed that a lot of people were looking at them.
“That……” A man walked up to them in the subway and said, “Dage, could I take a look at that?”
Fu Liqun picked up one shoe, “Look ba.”
The man reached out to take it, Fu Liqun retreated a little, “I’ll hold it for you to take a look, look ah. You can only look at it, not touch it.”
Yu Hao thought, you don’t need to do that ba, even if he just took one shoe and fled, it would be of no use ah!
“Can I take a picture?” That guy asked.
“Take ba.” Fu Liqun held the shoe up for the man to take a photo, “Remember to smooth out my skin.”
After the man took a picture of the shoe, he asked, “Where did you buy it?”
“A friend bought it abroad.” Fu Liqun said, “There are only 10 pairs in North America.”
The man nodded and left, looking both envious and reluctant. Fu Liqun explained to Yu Hao, “That shop only does business with acquaintances, they don’t just sell things to anyone.”
“Oh……” Yu Hao began to realise why the shoes and that boss were so amazing.
“Let’s go.” Fu Liqun seemed a little disappointed, “See you next week. Don’t get discovered when you go back, hide it well.”
Yu Hao bid farewell to Fu Liqun in front of the subway station. Fu Liqun squeezed onto the subway and headed to the high-speed railway station to take a train home.
Yu Hao kept the shoes in their packaging, stood for awhile, then returned to the shop. It was 4pm, and the boss was already preparing to close shop. He saw Yu Hao walk over, who said, “I’m just asking out of curiosity, how much is the other pair?”
Boss, “I’m also just asking out of curiosity, how many more boyfriends do you have? Could you buy all the shoes you want for them in one go?”
Yu Hao, “I don’t even have one! Stop asking!”
“This pair’s cheaper, 4,700.” The boss said, “I’ll charge you 4,500 ba.”
“Thank you!” Yu Hao immediately said, “Is it because I bought two pairs?”
“No.” The boss collected the money and said, “Because your eyes look like my wife’s, my wife’s a woman. Go back ba, don’t get robbed on your way back.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Yu Hao returned to the dormitory and hid the shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe. He planned to buy some wrapping paper to wrap the gifts. He couldn’t just give it to Zhou Sheng in the black plastic bag that it was kept in. He had only just hidden it when Zhou Sheng came back.
“Where did you go?” Yu Hao took the preemptive strike.
Zhou Sheng, “What does it have to do with you? What about you? Where did you go?”
Yu Hao, “I’ve always been in the dorm.”
Zhou Sheng, “Your back’s drenched in sweat in the dorm? Who’re you trying to deceive?”
Yu Hao could only say, “I sent Gege to the subway station.”
“You guys are that close?” Zhou Sheng casually said before laying down on his bed, then asked, “Where do you want to go during the summer vacation?”
Yu Hao, “Aren’t you competing?”
Zhou Sheng said, “It’ll be over next week.”
“What about Australia?”
“It’s winter, you want to turn into a popsicle there?” Zhou Sheng said, “It only starts in November, and it’s not confirmed that we’ll get to go, only the top 3 can. Hurry, I’ll book the hotel in advance.” As he spoke, he scrolled through his phone.
“Let me think about it some more.” Yu Hao kind of wanted to work. He ended up spending all his money on impulse purchases today.
“Did you buy a gift for Kaikai?” Zhou Sheng asked lazily.
“Buy a gift?” Yu Hao was now extremely nervous, “What gift? Why do I need to buy him a gift?”
Zhou Sheng, “He introduced you to your part-time job, aren’t you going to thank him?”
Yu Hao, “I’ve already sent him a red packet, though I think he doesn’t need it, and he has already accepted it.”
Zhou Sheng, “You only sent him a red packet? Student Yu Hao, are you serious? Why did you put so little thought into it? How much did you send him?”
“I transferred 888.” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng was satisfied and didn’t question him further. The dormitory was extremely quiet. Yu Hao began to imagine Zhou Sheng’s expression when he receives his birthday gift. Would he be touched? Or would he scold him for buying such an expensive item?
After a short silence, Zhou Sheng said, “I’ll be competing next week, will you come and watch?”
Yu Hao, “Do you even need to ask?”
Zhou Sheng, “Our whole class will be going, Kaikai and Huang Ting too.”
Yu Hao, “Don’t stress, just do it as you usually would.”
Zhou Sheng, “What I meant was, when I’m receiving the prize, remember to step forward a little yourself and get everyone else to move their asses to the side, got it?”
Yu Hao laughed and said, “Okay!”
Throughout the following week, Yu Hao was even more nervous than Zhou Sheng while Zhou Sheng was no different to usual. He ate and slept as he should and even stewed oxtail soup in their dormitory. Ying City in July was as hot as a furnace, and their balcony that faced the West was still sunny. Zhou Sheng raised his head to look at the balcony and said, “We need to buy an air conditioner, or else we’re gonna die from the heat.”
But Yu Hao wasn’t bothered by it. In the past, his house was even stuffier than the dormitory, so he was used to it. Zhou Sheng said, “Come and stay in the training hall ba.”
Yu Hao accepted an online part-time job to translate two magazine manuscripts. After the editor saw his sample manuscripts, he was extremely satisfied with Yu Hao’s work. So Yu Hao carried the laptop that Fu Liqun left in their dormitory to the training hall, where the temperature was regulated, to translate. He and Zhou Sheng were the only ones in the huge training hall. After Zhou Sheng trained for awhile, he would visit Yu Hao during his break, and the two of them would drink some water as they watched shows.
The night before the competition, Zhou Sheng took a bath and said to Yu Hao, “Wanna bask in the moonlight?”
It was a cool evening. Yu Hao submitted his translations and received 800 for his work. Work that relies on the brain pays more than work that relies on brawn. In the past, after standing for a whole day in the cafe he would only earn 120. He began thinking that what Chen Yekai said was right: money was hard to make, but it wasn’t that hard to make.
Zhou Sheng and Yu Hao lay down on the grass in the field. The moonlight spilled onto their bodies. During the summer vacation, the entire college was extremely quiet.
“Yu Hao.” Zhou Sheng said in a daze.
“What?” Yu Hao looked sideways at Zhou Sheng.
Zhou Sheng said, “I’m a little nervous.”
Yu Hao, “Because of the competition tomorrow?”
Zhou Sheng didn’t answer. Yu Hao sat up, “When I sang for the college’s celebration performance, I was really nervous too. But at that time I imagined that there was only one person in the audience below the stage — and that person was General. So I didn’t feel that nervous anymore. If you’re still nervous when you’re competing tomorrow, you can imagine that I’m the only one who’s there to watch you compete, just like how I usually watch you practice……”
But Zhou Sheng began laughing for some unknown reason and answered, “Why are you always so dumb? I’m not talking about the competition.”
Yu Hao, “???”
Zhou Sheng, “I’ll return to the dorm first. You can bask for a little longer?”
Yu Hao said, “Let’s go together ba.”
But Zhou Sheng didn’t wait for him. He got up and walked through the field, looking up at the moon. Yu Hao patted the grass off his body and got up. Zhou Sheng stuffed two hands into the pockets of his sportswear, and called out to Yu Hao from across half the field, “Yu Hao! Look at the moon!”
Yu Hao also looked up. Zhou Sheng shouted again, “The moon tonight is really beautiful!”
Yu Hao turned towards Zhou Sheng and laughed. He looked up, looked at Zhou Sheng again, before shifting his gaze back to the moon — there was some surprise mixed with confusion in his gaze.
Yu Hao answered, “Yeah!”
His side profile was embraced by the warm moonlight as he gazed upwards. A gust of wind whispered by and, gently tousled his short hair, forming a gentle and handsome silhouette.
——Volume 2·Chichén Itzá·End———
Juurensha: CONFESS ZHOU SHENG. But also, petition to make the boss of the shoe store a recurring snarky character?
Dollars: ^ shoe shop boss is my everything.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kum.